TWO schools in Abingdon are facing rising inflation, staff pay rises, and heating costs amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

Larkmead School, in Faringdon Road, and Thameside School, in Cotman Close, are facing an increase of £40,000 to £300,000 in costs according to the chief executive of the school’s trust.

The CEO of Vale Academy Trust, which runs eight schools in Oxford and Abingdon, said heating bills had quadrupled, potentially sending its schools into deficits.

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As a result, Richard Evans said ‘hard choices’ have to be made to ‘balance the books’. He said the Government’s budgets, which were set back in April, did not account for today's 11.1 per cent level of inflation.

"There is little scope to make savings,” he said. “The biggest cost, 85 per cent of our budget, is spent on staffing.

"We have a rising number of children with special needs and they have to be supported, so we have to employ more staff so those costs are going up."

Johnathan Dennett, head of Larkmead, said: “As a school we are well supported by the Vale Academy Trust in planning for the issues facing everyone in education at this time, a real benefit of working together.

“Significantly increased costs and the national difficulties in recruiting staff mean that these are especially challenging times for schools, and we would all benefit from an urgent real terms increase in funding.”

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Laura Youngman, head of Thameside, added: “As a trust we are working collaboratively to minimise the impact on our children and their education in light of the increased budgetary pressures; we are, however, attuned to the situation and will be monitoring it closely across all of our schools. 

 “Like all schools nationally, managing rising costs will be a challenge for us over the next few months.”

Liberal democrat MP Layla Moran, of Oxford West and Abingdon, said she was ‘outraged’ by the budget. She said she has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt urging him ‘not to make children and young people pay for the Conservatives’ botched budget’ by cutting school and college funding.

Ms Moran said: “As a teacher, I saw the power of education to transform the lives of young people.

“And yet this Conservative government seems intent on making it as hard as possible for schools to succeed in doing so.

“Schools are facing huge challenges in balancing their budgets and are really concerned that continued cuts will force them to limit their curriculums and teaching support.

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“Some schools are being forced to choose between teaching children or heating classrooms. That is simply unacceptable.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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